Childhood allergy is the body’s overreaction to allergens which enter the body through the respiratory tract, the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. If you experience symptoms suggestive of an allergy it is recommended to take the child to a pediatric allergist as soon as possible, so that the specialist can make a precise diagnosis or rule out the possibility of being allergic. If it is confirmed that the child’s complaints are caused by an allergy, it is pereferable to start personalized therapy as quickly as possible in order to eliminate inconveniences.
The most common allergens:
- pollen circulating in the air
- animal hair or feather of birds
- dust mites
- insect venom (being affected by insect bites this could be a problem for those who are sensitive to it)
- certain foods, additives, colourants, flavour enhancers (food allergy)
- medicines (drug allergy)
- heavy metals
Symptoms of childhood allergy
Allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms in childhood, and some of them may appear simultaneously, which can make the child’s daily life particularly difficult. This is the reason why parents visit the pediatric allergy practice with a wide range of symptoms.
- dry, itchy skin can be a sign of atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- prolonged cough, wheezing (high pitched whistling sound when the child breathes) and reduced physical load should be associated with the possible presence of an asthmatic condition
- respiratory allergy can be associated with hay-fever-like symptoms throughout the pollen season, but all-year-round runny nose and nasal congestion can also be a sign of an untreated allergy
- prolonged diarrhea, bloody stools and/or eczema in infancy raises the possibility of a food allergic condition, which should also be taken into consideration when redness of skin, swelling, difficult breathing, vomiting or a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) occur after eating certain food
If allergy symptoms appear in children, a careful allergic examination is inevitable.
Here, we would also like to draw attention to the fact that more and more people are affected by histamine intolerance too.
Dr. Dóra Pászka the pediatric allergist of our clinic
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Respiratory allergy examinations
For the diagnosis of respiratory allergies, Prick test, allergen specific IgE blood test and molecular allergy tests are available. A so-called spirogram and a bronchial provocation test are also required if an asthmatic condition is suspected.
The latest generation of antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops containing steroids and antihistamines are of a great help in the treatment of respiratory allergies; the use of these medicaments is individually determined by specialists on the basis of professional recommendations.
It is important to know that besides the medicaments for the treatment of symptoms, immunotherapy, being a state-of-the-art treatment for respiratory allergies, can also be applied to provide a lasting asymptomatic status for children suffering from allergy. In the case of asthma, the medication adjustment of preventive agents and the education of the patients are the cruical points, which give the whole family a greater sense of security in the long run.
Food allergy examinations
The most common triggers for childhood food allergies are milk, eggs, oilseeds, soy, wheat, fish and seafood. As part of the examination it is inevitable to take the child’s detailed medical history, and this can be followed by various tests.
In a Prick test, professionals deliver the allergen to the body by scratching the skin. The advantage of this method is that it gives the results within 15 minutes. Blood samples can be used for allergic specific IgE and molecular allergy testing, the latter gives the chance to a risk assessment, helps to determine a proper diet, specifies possible crossallergies, and provides information on allergy prognosis.
Care for children with food allergies
After completing the examination of a child suffering from food allergy, the so-called elimination diet shoud be maintained in accordance with the child’s age and nutritional status; diet planning can be well assisted by a dietitian who – in comparison with the possibilities – is attentive of adapting the diet to the needs of the family all the time.
To avoid the severe consequences of the accidental consumption of an allergen, which can trigger a serious allergic reaction, families will be provided with a life-saving medicine by the specialists and its use will also be explained to them in detail.
It is true for children with food allergies too that they should be re-examined at regular intervals, in order to assess the current level of their allergic condition and if necessary adjust the personalized tratment accordingly.
If it is needed, the allergists of Panoráma Polyclinic can also incorporate psychological colleagues into the healing process, as they can provide great help to families to cope with the changed life situation as effectively as possible. Working closely with a pediatric allergist, pediatric gastroenterologists can also do much to make the life of the affected children and their parents easier.